Hail Insurance Issues

Nature Nurtures: The Power of the Great Outdoors

Everyone knows what research now proves: nature is good for you. Be they gardeners, dog walkers, or wilderness wanderers, people simply feel healthier in the great outdoors. But why?

In a recent column, gardening expert Mark Cullen tells us it’s all about trees. He writes, “We know we feel better when we spend time in the natural environment of a conservation area or urban park, or in our backyard. …” Referring to a University of Chicago study, Cullen adds, “In fact, 10 additional trees per city block increased…subjects’ health perception by as much as $10,000 in extra income (like winning a small lottery!).”

In a recent article in Ecologist, Richard J. Dolesh explains why: “New research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now provides scientific proof that walking in nature and spending time under leafy shade trees causes electrochemical changes in the brain that can lead people to enter a highly beneficial state of ‘effortless attention.'”

Psychology professors Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have been researching what they call “the restorative benefits” of nature for decades. In a cover story for the American Psychological Association, writer Rebecca A. Clay summarizes their findings: “People don’t have to head for the woods to enjoy nature’s restorative effects, the Kaplans emphasize. Even a glimpse of nature from a window helps. In one well-known study, for instance, Rachel Kaplan found that office workers with a view of nature liked their jobs more, enjoyed better health, and reported greater life satisfaction.”

So get out there! It’s good for you.

Why Emojis Are Taking Over Our Lives

Recently, Facebook introduced five emojis to replace the thumbs-up icon. But would they catch on? At the time, Jessica Guynn wrote in USA Today, “Acknowledging that ‘like’ isn’t the right sentiment for every occasion, the giant social network is offering new options. Reactions, five emoting emojis, [are now] rolling out to Facebook’s nearly 1.6 billion users around the globe…”

Around the same time, a USA Today headline used emojis, and as writer Esme Cribb noted in the Content Strategist: “Yes, emojis have now officially graced the pages of print newspapers…”

The emoji platform, which tracks online sentiment and builds strategies through the use of emojis, found in a study that some 60% of respondents use emojis weekly, and many more frequently.

And, as Andrea Ayers wrote in the Crew blog: “Over a five-month period…emojis were used over 1.7 billion times on Twitter.” Ayers asks: “What exactly is driving our use of emoticons?” And responds: “The answer is quite simple, they make us feel good.” A lot of Facebook fans might well agree.

It’s Hail Season: Here’s How to File a Claim
Every year, hail causes some $1 billion in damage. Across the United States, there were 5,411 hail storms in 2015; 1,324 of those were in June alone. Are you ready?

Hailstones range from pea-size to golf ball-size, and bigger. The Guinness World Records’ website reports that the heaviest hailstones weighed in at some two pounds (1 kg) as they crashed to earth in Bangladesh on April 14, 1986.

If your property is peppered by damaging hail, there are steps to take to file a claim and receive compensation for the damage.

First, however, you’ll need coverage. Typically, your homeowners &/or business  insurance will cover repairs to your home/business if it’s damaged by hail. But depending on your policy, you may have a deductible to pay first.

Talk to your agent, who can discuss policy options and recommend the best coverage for you.

Once you have coverage in place, you are prepared if a hailstorm hits. If damage results, follow these steps:

  1. Document the storm. Not just the date and time, but the hailstones themselves. Photograph them, placing a tape measure next to one to show size.
  2. Document damages. Examine your roof, and take pictures of any damaged shingles. Photograph damage to siding and don’t forget to check outdoor air conditioning units. Take a peek in the attic to check for leaks, and wander the property for indications of other damage.
  3. Call your homeowners insurance claim phone number. Provide your policy number and your documentation. Your insurer will issue a claim number.
  4. A claims adjuster will be assigned to inspect your property and prepare a repair estimate. After inspection, the adjuster will file a report with your claim examiner, who will review it and make a decision on your claim.
  5. The outcome of the claim will depend on the severity of the damage, the way your house is built, and the insurance company’s evaluation criteria.